Quiz: Fractal or Fiction?

While not everybody’s favourite vegetable (unless smothered in cheese),  it has to be said that the humble cauliflower makes up in looks what it perhaps lacks in taste.

Have you ever wondered about how or why those patterns – a type of fractal pattern – form?

Well, researchers from across Europe have been thinking about just that and today a new study has revealed a formula that unlocks the secrets of the cauliflower’s geometry.

Co-author of the paper, Mario Castro, said: “In spite of the widespread success of fractal geometry to describe natural and artificial fractal shapes, purely geometrical descriptions do not provide insight into the laws that govern the emergence of the shapes in time.

We believe that by knowing the general laws that dictate how these patterns form and grow, it will help to identify the biological and physical mechanisms that are at play.”

If you’d like to read more about the formula, you can find the article, Universality of cauliflower-like fronts: from nanoscale thin films to macroscopic plants in the Institute of Physics and German Physical Society’s New Journal of Physics.

On IOPBlog.org, however, we thought it would be fun to see how easily you can spot some bona fide naturally occurring fractal patterns among some fakes.

It’s the game the world has been waiting for:  Fractal or Fiction?!

Good luck! Once you’ve completed the quiz you may want to read up on fractals, or enjoy some astounding Google Earth Fractals from around the world.  Feel free to post links to images of your favourite fractals in the comments below.

[mtouchquiz 2]


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